"Junk" bikes versus "Real" bikes

Discussion in 'Recumbent bicycles' started by Tom Blum, Apr 1, 2003.

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  1. Tom Blum

    Tom Blum Guest

    This subject is an ongoing topic in the bicycle community. I thought I'd add my 2 cents, and perhaps
    provoke a thread on the subject.

    When I began biking a lot, I was exposed to expensive bikes for the first time. At that time, I was
    newly divorced and certainly near the bottom of the economic ladder, as far as disposable income was
    concerned. The better bikes were not an option.

    My reaction to the "haves" insistence that top of the line was the only way to go, was to study the
    specs in my trusty Bicycle Magazine, talk to the knowlegeable friends about the parts and pieces and
    ride the hell out of my $50 10 speed.

    Finally, I found a bike with many of the features of a "good bike" : ie high pressure tires and an
    alloy crank. It was a Huffy Aerowind (a blatant take off on the aero frames popular on the Tour de'
    France at the time). it weighed 28 pounds.

    I was also distainful of all the accoutrements of bicycledom. The pedal clips; cycling shoes; shorts
    with chamois, etc. I was the guy in cut off jeans and old tennies.

    As I rode more, those I rode with tended to be better riders, I got good enough to suck wheel
    (draft) off the back of the pace lines. But certainly couldn't ride away from them. My turn pulling
    the pack was hard as hell and left me panting.

    Now, the differences of a better bike loomed larger!! I could ride my Huffy faster than many of the
    loud mouth braggarts, with their expensive equipment, but the good riders left me in their dust.

    I began a program of buying better "one piece at a time". I learned my Huffy wheels were steel.
    Alloy wheels soon were swapped in. I learned about spinning; reluctantly I added road pedals and
    clips. I suffered mightily from "hot foot" . Very reluctantly, cycling shoes were added. My Ass was
    killing me. Shorts with a chamois became part of the package.

    Anyway: my point is. There are no "junk" bikes (well, maybe the very, very cheapest that actually do
    fall apart deserve the name). Millions of Asians still ride their junk bikes to work quite handily.
    There certainly are "Good", "Better", and "Best" bicycles. That doesn't make the entry level "Junk".

    I still stand by my position that a person can ride an inexpensive bike faster than the majority of
    riders if they train religiously and intelligently.

    If you are not mechanically inclined, it may be a better deal to buy a complete package than to
    utilize my "one piece at a time" approach. As an engineer, I enjoy tinkering.

    In the bent world, I still cannot bring myself to spend Kilo $ on a cycle, so I find myself in the
    world of home builders. I enjoy it here. I admit it isn't for everyone.

    In conclusion, I feel the world would be a better place if cheapskates like me could learn to admit
    that the best bikes are better and would be nice to own.

    The Top of the line guys could certainly lighten up on those with lesser equipment. You don't have
    to prove you were right in spending all that money.

    Like the Rodney guy said: "Can't we all just get along???" Let's ride!!!

    --
    Miles of Smiles,

    Tom Blum Winter Haven, Florida Homebuilts: SWB Tour Easy Clone Speed Machine Clone

    www.gate.net/~teblum
     
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  2. Rorschandt

    Rorschandt Guest

    "Tom Blum" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:

    > This subject is an ongoing topic in the bicycle community. I thought I'd add my 2 cents, and
    > perhaps provoke a thread on the subject.
    >
    > When I began biking a lot, I was exposed to expensive bikes for the first time. At that time, I
    > was newly divorced and certainly near the bottom of the economic ladder, as far as disposable
    > income was concerned. The better bikes were not an option.
    > >>SNIP<<
    > In conclusion, I feel the world would be a better place if cheapskates like me could learn to
    > admit that the best bikes are better and would be nice to own.
    >
    > The Top of the line guys could certainly lighten up on those with lesser equipment. You don't have
    > to prove you were right in spending all that money.
    >
    > Like the Rodney guy said: "Can't we all just get along???" Let's ride!!!
    >

    The best bargain in cycling is last year's hottest item. Buy second hand bikes. I am amazed at what
    one can buy at half price just because it is no longer the hottest ticket. My SO's 18lb carbon fiber
    Trek was over a $1000 new, we bought used for U$600, and it still has the nubs on the original
    tires! Unfortunately, this price differntial does not translate as such a big savings in bentdom.
    You can still save a lot by buying used.

    For the price of a new department store DF bike, you can often buy a used brand name DF bike of much
    higher quality for the same price or just a few dollars more. My all time favorite DF was an SR I
    bought used for $150 with all Suntour Cyclone, etc. It was like new, and when new probably cost in
    the neighborhood of U$500-600. It fit me perfectly, performed well and was reasonably comfortable. I
    rue the day I traded-up to a Motobecane "race" bike that was ill-suited for my needs.<sigh>

    Oh well, it would probably gather dust now anyway.

    rorschandt
     
  3. Mlb

    Mlb Guest

    For sure. I paid $550 for a nice GT mb, it's showroom condition, nubs and all, probably doesn't have
    more than 200 miles on it. Can't get 150.00 for it, so I'm saving it for my 8 y/o.
     
  4. John Shade

    John Shade Guest

    rorschandt <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Tom Blum" <[email protected]> wrote in news:[email protected]:
    >
    > > This subject is an ongoing topic in the bicycle community. I thought I'd add my 2 cents, and
    > > perhaps provoke a thread on the subject.
    > >
    > > When I began biking a lot, I was exposed to expensive bikes for the first time. At that time, I
    > > was newly divorced and certainly near the bottom of the economic ladder, as far as disposable
    > > income was concerned. The better bikes were not an option.
    > > >>SNIP<<
    > > In conclusion, I feel the world would be a better place if cheapskates like me could learn to
    > > admit that the best bikes are better and would be nice to own.
    > >
    > > The Top of the line guys could certainly lighten up on those with lesser equipment. You don't
    > > have to prove you were right in spending all that money.
    > >
    > > Like the Rodney guy said: "Can't we all just get along???" Let's ride!!!
    > >
    >
    > The best bargain in cycling is last year's hottest item. Buy second hand bikes. I am amazed at
    > what one can buy at half price just because it is no longer the hottest ticket. My SO's 18lb
    > carbon fiber Trek was over a $1000 new, we bought used for U$600, and it still has the nubs on the
    > original tires! Unfortunately, this price differntial does not translate as such a big savings in
    > bentdom. You can still save a lot by buying used.
    >
    > For the price of a new department store DF bike, you can often buy a used brand name DF bike of
    > much higher quality for the same price or just a few dollars more. My all time favorite DF was an
    > SR I bought used for $150 with all Suntour Cyclone, etc. It was like new, and when new probably
    > cost in the neighborhood of U$500-600. It fit me perfectly, performed well and was reasonably
    > comfortable. I rue the day I traded-up to a Motobecane "race" bike that was ill-suited for my
    > needs.<sigh>
    >
    > Oh well, it would probably gather dust now anyway.
    >
    > rorschandt

    One man's junk is another man's treasure. I base my buying decisions on what I intend to use the
    bike for, and the conditions it will be subject to. If I were any good as a cyclist, and racing, I
    would have no problem spending the money to get the lightest, most aero, package I could get my
    hands on. I know that for loaded touring my priorities would lead to an entirely different choice.
    Something with more rugged wheels, with no "exotic" parts (replacements possible to get on the
    road)...for everyday commuting I might make yet another decision, particularly if I thought that the
    bicycle would be subject to a "tough" environment. I currently own 2 bents (a long and a short). One
    has "entry" level components (Acero). It is still a nice bike, and it has proved to be bullet proof.
    The other is running 105 components--guess what--it's a nice bike too. In my case I think the
    component selection by the builders was a match for the "personality" of the bikes.
     
  5. Nigey

    Nigey Guest

    Ah yes, could not agree more. The very best bikes are those that are ridden, regardless of original
    cost. All others are just a waste of money.

    Recently (warning OT for 'bents here) I put my trusted old freebie road bike in a dumpster, waving
    it goodbye with nary a tear in my eye (got to admit I hated the thing). But, even though it was
    friction shifting six speeds, frame too big for me, and weighed about 35lbs even without a toolkit
    and pedals, I got my enjoyment out of it, plus of course a thousand miles or so of enjoyable cycling
    at an unbeatable cost. I've even beaten other cyclists with $1,000 plus bicycles on a road course as
    well (it's of course more the rider, than the bike ;^).

    Of course don't get me wrong, I'd much rather ride a "nice" bike with STI 105 shifting or higher
    -I'm not a retro grouch -but personal economics dictated that was the bike for me. My biggest
    complaint about the bike was friction shifters, which, quite frankly, created a vacuum causing
    stiction big time in comparison to my indexed shifting on my other bikes. In between the all too
    frequent "clatter-clatter-ra-da-da-da" noise when I found I was not completely in or out of a gear,
    I soothed my lusting gotta-have-latest-bicycle-tech-thingymajig soul by remembering with a smile
    (and grimace for that matter) that many Tour De Frances were won on friction shifting as well.

    And why did I get rid of "Black Bess" (as I used to call it)? Well, I got another freebie road bike
    that was the perfect size for me, as well as being a a better quality frame and not an awful black
    colour. Now it seems like I'm on a super duper featherlight in comparison -even though by todays
    standards I'm guessing it would still be considered very heavy. All relative I suppose, and again,
    the price is right.

    Nah, I might miss "Black Bess", but I'm not sad she's gone though. Perhaps these freebie bicycles
    keep me with a good perspective of money and bicycles!
     
  6. Dj Blag

    Dj Blag Guest

    Well put Tom, My $800 Trek DF cost me $550 because it was a 2 year old leftover, and my wife's $400
    Miyata cost $225 for the same reason. Chas
     
  7. Geob

    Geob Guest

    > For sure. I paid $550 for a nice GT mb, it's showroom condition, nubs and all, probably doesn't
    > have more than 200 miles on it. Can't get 150.00 for it, so I'm saving it for my 8 y/o.

    I loved my Univega mb. I rode it for 11 years and it was sooo sweet. I have been riding my bent to
    work so the mb sat. I took the slicks off and put mtn bike tires on, took it on some off-road rides.
    Wow. it handles great! Coast right by others in the gravel, fighting their machines for control.

    But.. I knew I coudn't sell it, knew my 11 yo gurl will have her own opinion of what to ride, so i
    gave it to my favorite charity Hope Now for Youth, and will claim a deduction. How much of a
    deduction? What do ya wanna know for, Ha??!! (in a wizened old backwoods farmer voice)
     
  8. Edward Wong

    Edward Wong Guest

    "Tom Blum" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > This subject is an ongoing topic in the bicycle community. I thought I'd add my 2 cents, and
    > perhaps provoke a thread on the subject.
    >
    > When I began biking a lot, I was exposed to expensive bikes for the first time. At that time, I
    > was newly divorced and certainly near the bottom of the economic ladder, as far as disposable
    > income was concerned. The better bikes were not an option.
    >
    > My reaction to the "haves" insistence that top of the line was the only way to go, was to study
    > the specs in my trusty Bicycle Magazine, talk to the knowlegeable friends about the parts and
    > pieces and ride the hell out of my $50 10 speed.
    >
    > Finally, I found a bike with many of the features of a "good bike" : ie high pressure tires and an
    > alloy crank. It was a Huffy Aerowind (a blatant take off on the aero frames popular on the Tour
    > de' France at the time). it weighed 28 pounds.
    >
    > I was also distainful of all the accoutrements of bicycledom. The pedal clips; cycling shoes;
    > shorts with chamois, etc. I was the guy in cut off jeans and old tennies.
    >
    > As I rode more, those I rode with tended to be better riders, I got good enough to suck wheel
    > (draft) off the back of the pace lines. But certainly couldn't ride away from them. My turn
    > pulling the pack was hard as hell and left me panting.
    >
    > Now, the differences of a better bike loomed larger!! I could ride my Huffy faster than many
    > of the loud mouth braggarts, with their expensive equipment, but the good riders left me in
    > their dust.
    >
    > I began a program of buying better "one piece at a time". I learned my Huffy wheels were steel.
    > Alloy wheels soon were swapped in. I learned about spinning; reluctantly I added road pedals and
    > clips. I suffered mightily from "hot foot" . Very reluctantly, cycling shoes were added. My Ass
    > was killing me. Shorts with a chamois became part of the package.
    >
    > Anyway: my point is. There are no "junk" bikes (well, maybe the very, very cheapest that actually
    > do fall apart deserve the name). Millions of Asians still ride their junk bikes to work quite
    > handily. There certainly are "Good", "Better", and "Best" bicycles. That doesn't make the entry
    > level "Junk".
    >
    > I still stand by my position that a person can ride an inexpensive bike faster than the majority
    > of riders if they train religiously and intelligently.
    >
    > If you are not mechanically inclined, it may be a better deal to buy a complete package than to
    > utilize my "one piece at a time" approach. As an engineer, I enjoy tinkering.
    >
    > In the bent world, I still cannot bring myself to spend Kilo $ on a cycle, so I find myself in the
    > world of home builders. I enjoy it here. I admit it isn't for everyone.
    >
    > In conclusion, I feel the world would be a better place if cheapskates like me could learn to
    > admit that the best bikes are better and would be nice to own.
    >
    > The Top of the line guys could certainly lighten up on those with lesser equipment. You don't have
    > to prove you were right in spending all that money.
    >
    > Like the Rodney guy said: "Can't we all just get along???" Let's ride!!!
    >
    >
    > --
    > Miles of Smiles,
    >
    > Tom Blum Winter Haven, Florida Homebuilts: SWB Tour Easy Clone Speed Machine Clone
    >
    > www.gate.net/~teblum

    Tom,

    I take it that some of the attitudes of the "techno weenies" towards low end cycling products may
    have to do with the need to justify the money they have spent on their bikes and equipment. They
    feel that expensive is "better" and therefore have to solidify their emotional buying decision by
    "rationalizing" that entry level products was not worth their time or money.

    I laugh at one of the replies that where the poster states he got a $1,000 bike used for $600.
    Well 600 bucks is still a LOT of mula for many folks who just want a bike to ride on the local
    recreational trail on Saturdays or in the early evenings after supper or to run errands or ride
    to school.

    I ride a Lighting T-Bolt which I love and paid $800 for brand new and yet I see that even some of
    the latest discount store bikes which sell at $175-$200 to be much better finnished and have better
    components. Now don't get me wrong, in my right mind I would not trade my beloved T-Bolt for any one
    of those fancy uprights even if the quality seems to equal or exceed that of my Lightning at 1/4 the
    cost. My T-Bolt is way more comfy and fun and I wouldn't trade it for any high end upright either. I
    guess what I'm trying to say is that no matter what the price you paid for your ride, if you enjoy
    it...the heck with what anyone says. Maybe you are having more fun riding something you paid one or
    two "Benjamin Franklins" for than the other guy who paid a sackful of them:)

    Edward Wong Orlando, FL
     
  9. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    Tom Blum wrote:
    > ... Anyway: my point is. There are no "junk" bikes (well, maybe the very, very cheapest that
    > actually do fall apart deserve the name). Millions of Asians still ride their junk bikes to work
    > quite handily. There certainly are "Good", "Better", and "Best" bicycles. That doesn't make the
    > entry level "Junk"....

    I believe that there is a usually a certain price point below which one may get less value for the
    money. As an example, take the Blackbent 3 from now defunct Recumbant (sic) Barn. These bikes
    suffered from frame failures, a couple of potentially serious safety issues, and could be almost
    impossible to set up properly. In my opinion, a RANS Rocket would certainly be a better value for
    the money.

    However, once beyond that point, value for the money rapidly diminishes. For instance, does anyone
    really believe that a P-38 is more than twice as good of bike as the Rocket? Or is a TiGRR 2 1/2
    times better than a Tour Easy?

    In many areas, the general rule that the best value for the money is the lowest priced "quality"
    item seems to hold true - I would make this claim for recumbent bicycles and bicycle components.

    Tom Sherman - Various HPV's Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  10. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Tom Blum" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]... <great
    story snipped for brevity>
    > Anyway: my point is. There are no "junk" bikes ...There certainly are "Good", "Better", and "Best"
    > bicycles. That doesn't make the entry level "Junk".
    >
    > ...a person can ride an inexpensive bike faster than the majority of riders if they train
    > religiously and intelligently.

    Absolutely. It really is the rider, not the bike, that is important.

    My brother in law is a northern California cycling champion. (He builds custom frames for a living,
    FWIW.) One of his cycling buddies always shows up for a ride wearing a flannel shirt, jeans and
    sneakers, riding a beaten-up old touring bike. He proceeds to whip the crap out of the Lycra-clad
    roadies, hauling ass up a long and steep NorCal climb. They finally catch him at the top of the
    biggest hill, where he is waiting for them with a satchel full of homemade enchiladas for the group.
    Now *that* is my idea of a cyclist with no equipment fetish and a heart of gold. We need more like
    him. Apparently, he's not the slightest bit pretentious about his superior abilities - just likes to
    ride, and rides a lot. I want to meet him someday soon.

    > If you are not mechanically inclined, it may be a better deal to buy a complete package than to
    > utilize my "one piece at a time" approach. As an engineer, I enjoy tinkering.

    True. It can be quite expensive to build a bike one piece at a time; but I've had pretty good luck
    with that approach. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool bargain hunter, which definitely helps.

    > In the bent world, I still cannot bring myself to spend Kilo $ on a cycle, so I find myself in the
    > world of home builders. I enjoy it here. I admit
    it
    > isn't for everyone.

    One one hand, I admit that even an expensive trike is 1/10th the price of a car, and a lot more fun.
    On the other hand, I can't really afford a $4,000 trike, or even a $2,000 trike. I *can* afford a
    $500 home-built lowracer, however. It's turning into a "back burner" project, I'm afraid...

    > In conclusion, I feel the world would be a better place if cheapskates
    like
    > me could learn to admit that the best bikes are better and would be nice
    to
    > own.

    Sure, wouldn't we all like to have the best; but it's not necessary. It's totemistic peer pressure
    that makes roadies plunk down $5,000 for a Merlin.

    > The Top of the line guys could certainly lighten up on those with lesser equipment. You don't have
    > to prove you were right in spending all that money.

    Yes they do. They are pompous self-centered asses who need to use totemistic expressions of
    technical and economic superiority to cover up their insecurities. Therefore, they must brag loudly
    and in your face about their $6,000 Campy Record equipped Uberbike made from 6/4 Unobtainium (or
    whatever is in vogue for that racing season). I have just about zero tolerance for these types of
    cyclists, and shun them like the Plague. That's what kept me out of cycling clubs until I finally
    found a local group that is in it for the fun, not for the arrogant pretense and competitive
    mindset. Some of the most arrogant jerks I've ever met have been roadies.

    Recumbent riders are very different - as if there weren't enough things to like about
    recumbents as it is.

    -Barry
     
  11. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    "B. Sanders" wrote:
    >
    > ... That's what kept me out of cycling clubs until I finally found a local group that is in it for
    > the fun, not for the arrogant pretense and competitive mindset....

    And they were hoping to be free of RANS Rocket riders when I moved, and were very upset when Barry
    showed up on his. ;)

    Actually, I never met anyone on about 200 rides with Barry's cycle club that was not at least
    tolerant of recumbents. They were even tolerant of
    me. ;)

    Tom Sherman - Various HPV's Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  12. Geob

    Geob Guest

    I enjoyed your post, Nigey (all of this thread in fact). I think we have similar attitudes
    about money.

    > I got my enjoyment out of it, plus of course a thousand miles or so of enjoyable cycling at an
    > unbeatable cost.

    In college my buddy went to the swap meet and bought the ugliest bike he could find that worked OK.
    He paid $2. While the rest of us would park our bikes at the Student Center at the Big Bike Rack so
    we could lock up, he rode his directly to class and simply threw it on the lawn outside of class.
    Nobody ever touched the thing. He is quite a character.. (athlete bike racer, wildernes ranger,
    biology teacher, missionary to the S.American jungle, magician) he would also wrap duct-tape around
    his worn-out tennies. Now, I have never done that but I admire the mind set.

    Be nice when 'bents are so common we can get them for $2 and throw them on the lawn. Or
    not... hmmm...
     
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